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Survivor & Professional Speaker on Heart Health Advocacy

The Healthy Heart Foundation, Inc. has been newly formed!  It’s really exciting to have organized this non-profit organization whose initial goal will be to place AEDs in all of the Fall River Schools, along with providing proper CPR/AED training…and from there, the sky is the limit!!  It’s been an interesting process to create the organization, begin forming its Board of Directors, and start to create a mission statement that not only reflects the non-profit’s goals, but really my own personal life goals for heart health.  Thank you to those who have supported me so much in making this happen!



I had a great time meeting the members of Osterville Rotary and presenting to them about my experience in Uruguay.  Our team leader from the trip, Stu Peoples, is a member and Past President of the Club, and they were Stu’s sponsor.  Thanks so much for having me!


Yet another amazing event sponsored by Children in Balance!  Spencer Borden was the final Fall River elementary school to have its fun family health initiative, and it had the most amazing turn out of students and their families!  We saw some delicious healthy cooking take place, participated in some fun and awesome dance/exercise moves, and toured the booths of the amazing health-related organizations in Fall River.  What a fun (healthy!) night!!


I am proud to have been selected as an official member of FRYSA’s Board of Directors!


Well, I’m about halfway through my South American visit to Uruguay where I am representing my country, city, and Rotary District.  It has certainly been an adventure so far!  My team and I have visited many schools and hospitals, met many gauchos (Uruguayan cowboys) both young and old, gave numerous presentations to Rotary Clubs and at the District Conference, tried some amazing new food and dessert, and even had our fun with meeting new furry creatures along the way.  Most importantly, we have experienced a beautiful culture full of warm and inviting people, amazing customs, and breathtaking scenery.  I thank Rotary International and the loving Rotarians of Uruguay so much for making this cultural exchange possible.

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It’s exciting to have been selected to be part of a national program in which American Heart Association volunteers from all over the country will be participating in webinars and sharing resources with regards to heart disease in our country.  The top volunteers will be gaining effective insight into making our voices heard, while sharing our stories and experiences.  It’s an honor to not only be a part, but to have been asked to speak during tonight’s class.  I’m so excited about this new effort!


My Rotary International Group Study Exchange team leaves on April 14th for Uruguay!  We were able to give a pre-trip presentation this evening to the Weymouth, Massachusetts Rotary Club. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed the company of some tremendous Rotarians, as well as the District Governor, who offered their enthusiasm, support, and well wishes for our trip to Uruguay. Thank you so much for a great evening!



It was great to be visiting this week at Peaceful Coalition’s meeting!  The Peaceful Coalition is a program at B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River (that has additionally branched out into the middle schools) that provides options to students who are deemed at-risk and/or gang-involved.  It aims toward prevention and intervention with regards to violence in the schools, and the message of peace has spread far and wide as a result of these students’ and advisors’ efforts. 


As a past advisor to the group, it’s amazing to see how much they continue to grow.  While the issue of violence is certainly prevalent in our city, I cannot imagine where it might be without the determination of Peaceful Coalition.


Another great fundraiser at Spencer Borden Elementary School!  We had a blast cooking breakfast for the students and their families at this annual PTO event, and everyone had a delicious breakfast and a terrific time!


Mayor Flanagan of Fall River, MA unveiled a Peace Pole at Government Center today in an international initiative to promote peace.  I was priveleged to have painted this very Peace Pole with my colleagues and students from St. Vincent’s Home.  Each side of the pole reads, “Let Peace Prevail on Earth,” in the languages of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Khmer.  It was exciting to be part of an project that will hopefully grow city-wide very soon!


I had the pleasure of being invited and speaking at the Brookline, MA Rotary Club Meeting.  It was great to reunite with so many members I had previously met this summer, and I was so happy to be able to share my story about heart disease and the work of Heartbeat International.  Thank you for having me!

Newletter March 2, 2010


Fall River Rotary Club Meeting

It is always a fun-filled time attending the Fall River Rotary Club’s meetings!  This week was no exception when I was invited to speak to share my upcoming trip to Uruguay and thank the Club for their support.  I’m so appreciative to have such an outstanding group of people who are always willing to give so much to others.  Thank you again for having me as your guest!


Over 125 years ago, the Sisters of Mercy established St. Vincent’s Home as an orphanage in Fall River, MA.  Today it celebrates still serving children and families in need so many years later.  We had a wonderful anniversary event to kick off our 125th anniversary, with the Bishop and the Mayor taking part in the festivities.

For more information on St. Vincent’s Home, please visit: http://www.stvincentshome.org/.


The Eagle Performing Arts Center hosted an intimate night of music with Cheryl Wheeler and PattyLarkin in a benefit for the Katie Brown Educational Program.  It was a night of great company, music, and mission!


Miss America Pageant!

I was so happy to attend the 2010 Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas to cheer on our Miss Massachusetts, Amanda Kelly!  She looked so beautiful up on the stage during the TLC live event.


Congratulations to our new Miss America from Virginia, Caressa Cameron!


This weekend I participated in a retreat for Rotary International’s District 7950 Group Study Exchange (GSE) trip to Uruguay.  I was chosen to be a member of this 5-person team that will visit District 4980 in Uruguay from April 14 – May 15, 2010.  The month will consist of living with various Rotarians in Uruguay; presenting on the United States, my community, my profession, and my family to various Rotary Clubs; shadowing Uruguayans in my profession to gain a new perspective on methods and theories; and developing a deeper understanding for a different culture.  I will return as a Goodwill Ambassador to Rotary International, and I am so proud I can represent my country, state, city, and family in this awesome opportunity.  My thanks to the Rotary Club of Fall River for their sponsorship!



Another amazing and inspiring Parent Heart Watch Conference!


The weekend took place in Arlington, TX this year, home of the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys.  It was a packed few days full of tremendous information regarding children’s heart screenings, CPR/AED training, current research, and so much more.


It was a true gift to not only lead my annual Art Therapy session for these parents who have lost children to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, but to this year be able to lead a group discussion for survivors and siblings of those who have passed away.  We had great discussions, learned so much about our cardiac devices, and delved into some expressive art pieces.


Thank you all for another amazing conference!


For more information on Parent Heart Watch, please visit: www.parentheartwatch.org.




I was pleased to speak in Boston at the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association’s Annual Meeting and Clinical Symposium.  The weekend featured outstanding workshops and presentations in various subject areas related to athletic training, and it was outstanding that the EATA finished their conference on Monday with a morning dedicated to Sudden Cardiac Arrest in athletes.  I was honored to speak following Dr. David Berkson of Drexel University College of Medicine as he explained various aspects of the conditions causing SCA in the young.  I was able to provide the audience with my first-hand experience of living with one of these conditions.

It was a great convention, and I’m so happy that many athletic trainers were able to gain a further perspective regarding SCA in athletes.


Fall River’s Fun and Fitness Event

Fall River hosted a great event that kicked off its Fitness Challenge and had wonderful, fun activities for the whole family.  It was the perfect day to visit CD Rec, Battleship Cove, the carousel, and so much more!



Ten from the Line Video

I was very enthusiastic when the Fall River Herald News asked me to be their first participant in a segment called “Ten from the Line”.  Local celebrities are being asked to shoot 10 freethrows, and as Miss Massachusetts 2006 and a former Varsity Captain for B.M.C. Durfee High School, they thought I might like to kick off the fun.

Now, I haven’t shot a basketball in many years, and while I used to be great from the free throw line, it definitely isn’t like riding a bike.  I was REALLY nervous to be back on the basketball court, nevermind being videotaped!  But, it was a great time, and I had a blast!  Also, very importantly, it was so great to take a step back into the sport I have always enjoyed so much.

Check out the video to see how many I made!

The Herald News – Ten from the Line: Click in